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Sun Shining on Sun Care

By: Nicole Tyrimou, Euromonitor International
Posted: April 27, 2012, from the May 2012 issue of GCI Magazine.
  • Nearly 80% ($1.3 billion) of growth in the next five years will derive from the Latin America and Asia-Pacific regions.
  • While the popularity of private label may have risen as a result of the economic recession, consumers appear to be satisfied with these products, and even as the economy improves, private label continues to gain ground.
  • Driven by greater demand for convenience and ease of application, spray formats remain the most popular, with an average growth rate of 34% since 2005.
  • >As skin care brands offer more multifunctional sun protection/skin products, the blurring of the boundaries may also benefit sun care as they offer more skin care benefits.
  • In addition to sun care-to-skin care crossovers and vice versa, hair care offers potential for further cross-category expansion.

The global sun care market continued to grow steadily in 2011—in fact, at a similar rate to the previous year (6%) despite the turbulent economic climate in Western Europe, its strongest market. Increased awareness of the danger to health from sunburnt skin has been a key growth driver in Latin America and Asia-Pacific. As a result, nearly 80% ($1.3 billion) of growth in the next five years will derive from these regions. North America is projected to continue to grow steadily, but its saturated market is predicted to contribute only around $250 million to the global sun care market by 2016. While Western Europe is set to remain flat to 2016, according to Euromonitor International, it will nevertheless retain its position as the leading region by value.

Weakening Growth in the West as Private Label Gains

Western Europe, which accounted for a third of global sun care sales in 2011, posted a decline in value for the first time since 2004. Spain, its largest market, continued to contract due to economic difficulties, as well as a further private label penetration, currently standing at 20% and rising. While the popularity of private label may have risen as a result of the economic recession, consumers appear to be satisfied with these products, and even in the U.S., where the economy has improved, private label continues to gain ground, leading to weaker value growth in 2011. 

Latin America the Star Performer

Latin America was the fastest-growing region in sun care in 2011, posting a 17% increase in sales on the previous year. According to Euromonitor International, its strong growth is expected to continue, and by 2016, the region is set to become the second largest sun care market, overtaking both North America and Asia-Pacific. Brazil, the leading country by value for sun protection, saw strong growth across all categories, posting a staggering 23% increase in self-tanning. This rise in self-tanning shows that despite Brazilians’ concerns about sun damage (nearly 40% of sun protection products used offer SPF over 30), they still favor tanned skin. St. Tropez’s recent decision to launch in Brazil is indicative of the country’s status as an up-and-coming self-tanning market, despite its sunny weather.

Diversification Beyond SPF

The recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) cap on SPF and new regulations on broad-spectrum coverage are prompting companies to find new ways to increase their competitive advantage and differentiate. Some brands are targeting specific consumer groups like children or athletes while others are adding extra benefits such as moisturizing, hypoallergenic and anti-aging properties.